Article | August 4, 2022
Imagine a virtual world where people socialize and work, and are represented by their virtual avatars. The concept may date back 50 years as part of sci-fi stories. Thanks to advancements in digital technology, it is seeing the light of the day in the form of Metaverse. The concept has been contemplated by many scientists, writers, and artists alike. However, the release of Metaverse proved to be the pinnacle of the many possibilities that digital transformation holds in store.
The most exciting part is innovating powerful applications of Metaverse across industries, and Facebook is already on it. Not just employees, but any institution that no longer requires its stakeholders to be present physically, from banking to socialization to education, will discover the biggest opportunity for transformation.
Learning in 2-Dimension
Online education has received a shot in the arm in the past couple of years, more out of necessity than anything else. From K-12 to higher education, children are affected and protected by online learning in educational institutions. Inclusive online education is the biggest challenge faced by educators. Next, engaging students in an environment that does not employ their full sensory capabilities hampers learning. Despite these challenges, virtual classrooms remained the bastion of academics and learning at a time when many industries came to a standstill.
The phase allowed software providers and institutes to identify challenges, assess their needs, and contribute to driving innovation in the edtech space. Thanks to the exponential increase in the demand for better solutions, edtech can now consider moving from a virtual classroom that shoots up screen time to a classroom simulation that is much more immersive, engaging, and effective. Virtual spaces have been around in some form for some time now, especially in the gaming world. With games like Second Life, Minecraft, and The Sims, many children and young adults are already familiar with the use of technology to live and play virtually. Metaverse will only make it easier to transform education completely.
Although both online learning and virtual spaces have been around for a while, the conflux of both will engineer a new dimension and disruption for education. The blurring of physical boundaries and geographies is one of the most significant advantages of the Metaverse.While access to virtual classrooms still remains a big hurdle, the value addition from VR-based classrooms could solidify the case for virtual only classrooms.
Compared to reading and lectures, which have a knowledge retention rate of 5% and 10%, respectively, VR has a retention rate of 75%. The high retention rate can encourage educational institutes to redirect their teaching equipment budget to educate more children, say, at the NASA space station or in the Amazon rainforest, all without them having to leave their homes. Anywhere classrooms may just be the detour that education needs to leverage the current landscape and create a powerful transformation for the industry.
To Wrap Up
Education is heading for a rebranded future with classrooms being replaced by virtual reality in the pursuit of remote learning. Anywhere classrooms will help eliminate virtual walls that are currently nowhere near providing the experience that a real classroom can. With children being well-versed with virtual reality ecosystems, Metaverse will further simplify the seamless adoption of a two-dimensional learning space that offers better education, near hands-on experience, and actionable knowledge.
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When designing education programs for adults, you cannot avoid the fact that you need to design experiences for them. What other education forms could be better than storytelling, gamification, task orientation, and instant rewards, which could be offered by VR gaming? Imagine if all existing flat-lecture videos were converted into a 3D interactive gaming environment. Let's say, for example, on Massive Open Online Courses platforms, such as Coursera and edX, they start offering VR classrooms. When you connect to the classroom, you would be able to see other students around you and chat with them in natural languages and hear them in the natural languages; as a plus, there could be a prompt translator to support cross-cultural communication.